Rudy got a hold of another shrew, but this time it was even itty bittier than the proper-sized ones. Its eyes weren’t even open yet! Luckily, I didn’t see any marks on it from Rudy the Killer Whale Cat. I cradled the little guy in the palm of my left hand, scooted the cats inside. Scoot.
Then, what I would imagine, looked extremely comical —or strangely sad— was me embarking on Mission Find Momma. Every. single. little. squeaky. noise. was. her. I know what they sound like now,after having to save them from my cats so many times. Mercy! Why don’t they just find somewhere else to live. Anyway, I careened haphazardly around the backyard —avoiding stinging nettles and the giant slugs that creep out at night (last thing I wanted to do was step on one) listening and watching…looking for momma shrew. It was getting dark. I brought the shrew inside with me and typed with one hand, searching the internets for an answer: “found a baby shrew”, “take care of newborn shrew”, etc.
I knew, from previous shrew investigations, that they have the highest metabolism in the mammal world and they have to eat every 2-3 hours or they starve to death, so I had no idea what it was like for itty, bitty baby ones. But I read that they are totally dependent on the momma shrew. I knew they little guy’s chances were better outside if its’ mom found him, then inside with me…
So, I went to a hidey hole I have suspected of being a shrew den (?), laid a bunch of green and dried vegetation around it, put the baby shrew on it and lightly covered him with dried bamboo leaves. Then, I placed a big plastic pail upside down and made sure the hole, the baby and a getaway on a couple of sides were all secure and I topped the bucket with heavy rocks, so the jerk neighbour cat (who beats up our little Lois) couldn’t get the shrew.
I hope he is gone when I check him in the morning…down the hidey hole with its wee family.
Here he is and here is a video of him squirming around and being cute. (And this was my first ever youtube upload.)
Big slugs carousing around at night.
UPDATE: Well, I didn’t expect much when I went to check on the little shrew, but he was still there: still breathing and moving. I scooped him up again and we sat in the sun for awhile. I gave him tiny amounts of water from a syringe. We just sat. He squirmed. His breathing was shortened and he wasn’t doing well. Tough little critter though, lasting the whole night. But he finally just faded. It broke my heart. I knew how it would end, but it still squeezed my soul. I buried him.